I'd like to put a hedge at the bottom of my garden, approx 25ft wide.
It would be nice to use native British species, that I could eat,
drink or use.
I was thinking about using hazel and elder.
It will be against a fence that faces west and gets shade from a few
surrounding deciduous trees.
Has anyone else done this? Do you think it's a good/bad idea?
How far-apart should I plant them?
Another thing to consider is grapes. There is a house in our neighborhood
that has a grape hedge kept at a height of about four feet. It looks
great, even in the winter. They have kept the horizontal branches fairly
evenly spaced to have a thick hedge when it's leafed out. When it's
leafed out, you don't even notice it is grapes. It's really cool the way
they have trained it, much like espaliering (sp?) fruit trees only better.
Hazel grows rather slowly, and is gobbled up by hares as it grows.
Neither hazel nor elder are used in fences over here, probably because
they can't take the regular cutting a hedge would need.
Why not go for hawthorn (Crataegus)? You can use the berries in juice and
jelly, but they are rather dry. I use berries and flowering twig in herbal
medicine. Then again, hawthorn flowers on last year's twig, and you cut
that last summer, in a hedge...
Some people make juice and jelly of the pyracantha, too; I haven't tried
that myself. I've seen pyracantha in hedges, though. Pretty pretty.
Another border plant (but not a hedge plant) is barberry (Berberis). It
has edible (but extremely sour, if you're lucky) berries, too. I use the
root in herbal medicine; the juice of the sour berries can be used instead
of lemon juice, or vinegar.
Henriette Kress, AHG Helsinki, Finland
Henriette's herbal homepage: http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed
Thanks to Henriette, Pat in Plymouth, Richard and Glenna for your
ideas. I have gone for hazel as the hedge.
This looks easy to grow and I might get a few nuts (and a few canes to
use for growing beans etc). I think I'll try a few haws or
redcurrants later on, as bushes.
I spoke to the Woodland Trust http://www.woodland-trust.org.uk/ and
the lady there was very helpful.
Actually Anna, I've started a small (20ft) lavendar hedge as well;
around part of the the lawn. Very nice. Okay Boxer, not edible, I
admit, but useful in the cat litter tray.
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